Zinke calls it 'laughable' to suggest he threatened Alaska senators

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BUNKERVILLE, Nev. (AP) - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says suggesting he threatened Alaska's U.S. senators over a vote by one of them on health care is "laughable."

Zinke said Sunday in Nevada that he regularly speaks with Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and they get along.

The Alaska Dispatch News last week reported that Zinke called the two and said Murkowski's vote against proceeding on debate about legislation to repeal the federal health care law put Alaska's future with the administration in jeopardy.

Vice President Mike Pence broke a tie to advance the measure, but Murkowski helped sink GOP efforts to overhaul the law later in the week.

Sullivan told the newspaper Zinke's call sent a "troubling message."

But Murkowski said she did not perceive the call as a threat against her or Alaska.